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Survivor Moab: Fellowship Edition

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The Low Down…

The 16 Fellows of El Pomar embarked on a 6-day 100 mile journey down the Cataract Canyon with Colorado Outward Bound School. Accompanied by Fellowship Director Gary Butterworth and Kate Deeny, Deputy Director of the Fellowship, the group rafted down the Colorado River experiencing nature at its finest, and learning about leadership, group dynamics, and each other in the process.

Stripped down to our basic needs- with no deodorant, shame, or technological barriers, community, support, and leadership became the most important values. These three principles are exactly why the 2013 river course of Outward Bound had such a strong and lasting impact on us all.

The trip consisted of challenges that made each Fellow appreciate the small things in life. Tents, meals, dishes, and even our bathrooms were reliant on teamwork and dedication to every task. One of the most introspective and challenging experiences on the trip was an overnight solo. Given a tarp, some food, and plenty of water, each fellow had time to be truly alone. Some played imaginary baseball, others created javelins and targets and others simply attempted to survive the wind. However, as the baseball games ended, and the wind died down, each of us was able to be alone with ourselves and reflect. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the time offered for introspection was an invaluable experience.

 

Going it Alone…

The frayed cord slipped through my hands as I tied the little tarp to a crumbling sandstone wall. Gusts of wind lifted and stretched it, my fingers fumbling nervously to pull it into place before the dark clouds opened…

Prior to our Outward Bound trip, most of us had never spent a night alone outdoors- the idea confused and frightened me. How could a night in solitude strengthen our ability to work as members of a team?

Now, I realize why the course was structured to include this space for reflection. Working through individual challenges and creating time to consider our own strengths and weaknesses allowed us to become more self-aware, adaptable, and effective leaders and followers.

As I tied the cords down and took cover under my tarp I realized that without my solo experience, I would not have taken the time to consider the challenges posed by the Outward Bound course, and begin implementing the skills that my co-fellows demonstrated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wrap Up…

Outward Bound provided us the opportunity to confront and overcome tangible fears and limits; from camping solo overnight to captaining rafts down major rapids, the course necessitates collaboration and personal exploration.  On the river, we live fully engaged, distraction free days.

At El Pomar, we are charged with preserving the vision of Spencer Penrose.  Their energy and perseverance set the groundwork for much of what we see today in our community. To do Spencer and Julie justice, we too must engage wholly and sincerely with this community.  Outward Bound reminds us that we have the strength to maintain their legacy.

Above all, our undertaking can be summarized by the words of Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound, “There is more in us than we know.  If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.”